Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons — Series finale debuts next Tuesday



Episode #5 (series finale)

Debut: TUESDAY, SEPT. 2 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Sept. 3 (4:45 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 4 (1:15 p.m., 1:35 a.m.), 5 (11:00 a.m., 9:00 p.m.), 6 (9:30 a.m., 10:15 p.m.), 7 (6:30 a.m.) and 8 (2:45 a.m.)

            HBO2 playdates: Sept. 5 (11:15 p.m.) and 9 (4:00 p.m.)

            The preseason comes to a close as the Falcons head to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars; coaches evaluate player performances as they prepare for the cuts that will finalize the 53-man roster.

A 30-person NFL Films crew is at the Falcons’ training camp at team headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga., shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews have unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HardKnocks and follow @HBO and @Atlanta_Falcons for updates.

New Editions of STATE OF PLAY Debut Tuesdays in Prime Time Starting November 11







First Show Features One-On-One Interview With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell


NEW YORK, Aug. 21, 2014 – HBO Sports and executive producers Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey team up again for four innovative documentaries from the acclaimed STATE OF PLAY franchise, debuting Tuesdays in prime time for four consecutive weeks starting TUESDAY, NOV. 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

STATE OF PLAY: CULTURE SHOCK, the first new film in the topical series, begins with a 30-minute cinéma vérité documentary that explores how the National Football League, America’s most popular sports organization, is confronting its biggest challenge: making the game safer. This compelling film chronicles the physical toll the game takes on its players, a subject that has taken center stage at all levels of the sport over the past two years. How does the sport of football survive and thrive with long-term injuries piling up and lawsuits being filed at courthouses? The special features unprecedented access to the halls of the NFL and its Players Association, gathering viewpoints from football’s business leaders and fans.

Following the documentary, Peter Berg (HBO’s “The Leftovers”; Emmy® nominee for “Friday Night Lights”) sits down with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for an exclusive 20-minute one-on-one interview.

The other three STATE OF PLAY shows debut subsequent Tuesdays – Nov. 18, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2 – at the same time, with topics to be announced when confirmed.

Presented by Film 44 and HBO Sports, STATE OF PLAY takes on complex and multi-layered themes in sports, exploring their relationship to larger society. Each edition spotlights a topic or person whose impact on the contemporary sports world is undeniable, opening with a brief overview, followed by a cinéma vérité documentary and concluding with an in-depth roundtable discussion that includes the filmmakers, subjects and guest experts. Berg serves as moderator of the panel discussion.

“STATE OF PLAY launched with an exceptional ‘Trophy Kids’ presentation last December, and we are eager for HBO subscribers to watch this intriguing and engaging new collection of films from Peter Berg and his talented producers,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “Peter and his team dig deep for compelling stories that are contemporary, strike a chord and spark discussion.”

“State of Play: Trophy Kids,” which debuted in Dec. 2013, earned rave reviews for its penetrating report on the growing obsession many parents have with the scholastic athletic performance of their children. Variety wrote, “Going beyond X’s and O’s and wins and losses, HBO Sports’ ‘State of Play’ brings much-needed reflection and a wider lens to the sports universe — tackling a particular topic in a cinema-verite-style documentary.”

            New York’s Daily News observed, “Director Peter Berg delivers a compelling look at how parents put too much pressure on children’s sports,” while the Washington Times said, “As tough as it is to watch, it should be required viewing for every adult involved in youth sports: parents, coaches, educators, and concerned family and friends.”

“State of Play: Trophy Kids” will have an encore play Tuesday, Oct. 7 (6:30-7:30 p.m.) on HBO.

The new editions of STATE OF PLAY will also be available on HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.


Hard Knocks Episode #3 Premieres Tuesday on HBO



Episode #3

Debut: TUESDAY, AUG. 19 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Aug. 20 (5:15 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 21 (12:30 p.m., 3:10 a.m.), 22 (9:15 a.m., 2:00 a.m.), 23 (11:30 a.m., 2:20 a.m.), 24 (10:30 a.m.) and 25 (10:45 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Aug. 20 (4:45 a.m.), 22 (4:10 a.m.) and 26 (6:20 p.m.)

With jobs on the line, training camp heats up. The Falcons fly to Houston to take on the Texans in two mid-week scrimmages, followed by the second preseason game. Competition for the backup quarterback job intensifies.


A 30-person NFL Films crew is at the Falcons’ training camp at team headquarters in Flowery Branch, Ga., shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews have unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HardKnocks and follow @HBO and @Atlanta_Falcons for updates.


Real Sports returns Tuesday with Three All-New Segments








REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 209th edition debuts at a special time TUESDAY, AUG. 19 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

For the up-to-the-minute updates about REAL SPORTS, follow on Twitter at @RealSportsHBO or join the conversation using #RealSports.

Segments include:

*Magic Man. Now in his 12th NFL season, Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro long snapper Jon Dorenbos has been a largely anonymous but steady special teams player in a league known for constant personnel turnover. Despite his success on the field, however, Dorenbos’ love of magic has defined his life, offering the salvation that helped him through the darkest moments of his childhood. During a seemingly picture-perfect upbringing in the suburbs of Seattle, his life changed forever when his father beat his mother to death with a power tool in a fit of rage. Attempting to cheer up the reeling adolescent, a friend introduced Dorenbos to the art of magic and he instantly became hooked. Host Bryant Gumbel sits down with Jon Dorenbos to hear about the impact of magic and football on his life and witness firsthand his mastery of trickery and illusion.

Producer: Chapman Downes.

*Peter Pan on Wheels. When Rob Dyrdek first took up skateboarding almost three decades ago, he never imagined the sport would transform him from high-school dropout to professional skateboarder, MTV star, multi-million-dollar brand endorser and sports-league founder. After a successful run as a pro skateboarder, his MTV show “Rob & Big” debuted in 2006; based on a sketch he created for DC Shoes, his main sponsor, it’s one of the most successful shows in the network’s history. In 2009, the southern California resident launched another MTV show, “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory,” which is about to begin shooting its seventh season. But his most significant contribution to the sport came in 2010 when he founded Street League Skateboarding in an effort to establish skateboarding as a true competitive sport. It subsequently became an internationally recognized league and began a multi-year deal with Fox Sports1 this year. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel goes one-on-one with the 40-year-old entrepreneur to learn more about his tremendous impact on the skateboarding industry, and vice-versa.

Producer: Maggie Burbank.

            *Lone Survivor. In Aug. 2009, REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg sat down with former University of South Florida football player Nick Schuyler for an exclusive, extended interview as he spoke for the first time about the harrowing boating accident that claimed the lives of three friends and nearly took his own. On Feb. 28, 2009, Schuyler and Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith and former South Florida teammate Will Bleakley headed out to the Gulf of Mexico for a day of fishing. But a tragic mistake caused the boat to capsize and the four men clung to the overturned hull as a storm battered them through the night. When the Coast Guard finally discovered the vessel 46 hours later, it was 70 miles west of Tampa, and Schuyler was the only one left alive.

Since the accident, however, his account and motives have been questioned by the victims’ families, with whom he has no relationship. He later recounted his story in a 2010 memoir, and a big-budget movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Schuyler is currently in development. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg reconnects with the former football player, who is now one of the highest-ranked competitors in the fitness craze CrossFit, to see how he has picked up the pieces of his life.

Producers: Josh Fine, Nick Dolin, Joe Perskie.

Other HBO playdates: Aug. 19 (11:00 p.m.), 21 (8:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.), 23 (10:30 a.m.), 25 (4:45 p.m.), 27 (4:05 a.m.) and 31 (10:30 a.m.), and Sept. 3 (8:00 p.m.), 11 (1:00 p.m.) and 16 (12:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Aug. 22 (1:30 p.m.), 24 (8:30 a.m.), 27 (8:00 p.m.) and 28 (8:15 a.m.), and Sept. 2 (6:00 p.m.), 6 (3:30 p.m.), 9 (12:30 a.m.), 18 (1:30 p.m.) and 20 (3:00 a.m.)

            REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is available on multiple platforms, including HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.




REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 209th edition debuts at a special time TUESDAY, AUG. 19 (9:00 p.m. ET/PT & 8:00 p.m. CT) on HBO.

Segments include:

*Magic Man. Now in his 12th NFL season, Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro long snapper Jon Dorenbos has been a largely anonymous but steady special teams player in a league known for constant personnel turnover. Despite his success on the field, however, Dorenbos’ love of magic has defined his life, offering the salvation that helped him through the darkest moments of his childhood. During a seemingly picture-perfect upbringing in the suburbs of Seattle, his life changed forever when his father beat his mother to death with a power tool in a fit of rage. Attempting to cheer up the reeling adolescent, a friend introduced Dorenbos to the art of magic and he instantly became hooked.

Producer: Chapman Downes.

Watch the exclusive web clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYeZ36Kh-gE&list=UUWPQB43yGKEum3eW0P9N_nQ

Embed-able Link:<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/EYeZ36Kh-gE?list=UUWPQB43yGKEum3eW0P9N_nQ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>


JON DORENBOS: When people ask me what I do for a living and– they’re, ‘Oh, a long snapper.’  They, ‘Well, what’s that?’ And I’d be like, ‘Well, you know the guy who kicks it?  ‘Oh, yeah.’  ‘I’m not that cool.  You know the guy that holds it?’  ‘Oh, yeah.’  ‘Yeah. I’m not that cool, either.  I’m the guy that kinda looks between my legs and I snap it.’ And people will be like, huh?

HBO’s BRYANT GUMBEL: You are almost inarguably, the most anonymous person in pro football?

JON DORENBOS: Love it. Love it.



He may play his football in Philly … but Dorenbos takes his magic act all over the country …

BRYANT GUMBEL: So, finish this for me: but for magic, I’d have…

JON DORENBOS: Wow. An empty part of my soul.

BRYANT GUMBEL: It was empty and magic filled it?

JON DORENBOS: Yeah. I attribute who I am today to what magic did for me at the worst time and the lowest time of my life.



That lowest point came 12 years into Jon Dorenbos’ life … a life that played out in an idyllic suburb outside of Seattle … his mom, Kathy, was a librarian … his dad, Alan, worked at Microsoft and was president of the local little league.


But everything changed dramatically back in August of 1992 when young Jon returned home from playing touch football with friends.


JON DORENBOS: August 2nd is a date I’ll never forget.

BRYANT GUMBEL: You came home. Dad said, ‘Mom went for a walk.’ You and your dad played cards, played chess.


BRYANT GUMBEL: He seem normal?

JON DORENBOS: Yeah.  Totally normal.

BRYANT GUMBEL: Had your mom ever gone for a nighttime walk before?


BRYANT GUMBEL: So, when he said, ‘Mom’s out goin’ for a walk,’ bells didn’t go off in your head?

JON DORENBOS:  No.  As a kid you don’t see the evil side of life yet.




The next morning Kathy Dorenbos was still gone … which is when Jon noticed that his baseball gear was not in the garage, where it had always been, but had been instead, brought inside, by his father …


JON DORENBOS: Everything in the garage that I would’ve needed was on the kitchen table. Then he walked me up to the top of the driveway, said goodbye, And he probably knew what his future held.  And I had no idea what mine did.



Jon Dorenbos had no idea that while he’d been playing football the night before … his parents had argued and his father had snapped …


{SOT local news}

“Alan Dorenbos turned himself into King County police this morning and showed them the body of his wife.”


In a fit of anger, Alan Dorenbos had beat his wife to death with a power tool, stuffed her in a sleeping bag and hid her in the trunk of the family car …


During questioning he confessed to the police …


{ALAN DORENBOS SOT – Police tapes}

“I knew that I killed her … and I knew my son was going to be coming home … and I couldn’t let Jonathan see her like that …”

BRYANT GUMBEL: All of us– saw our parents fight, argue, you must have?

JON DORENBOS: No more than any– probably anybody else. I didn’t live in a violent house.  I didn’t live in an angry house.

BRYANT GUMBEL:  The therapist that was assigned to you, John Walter was of the belief that rather than shield you from all that was going on, you would be better served if he immersed you in the process.


BRYANT GUMBEL:  So, that meant testifying.

JON DORENBOS:  I remember saying ‘Will this help end this?’  And they said, ‘Yeah.’  And I said, ‘Okay.  I’ll do it.’

BRYANT GUMBEL: Were you in court every day?


BRYANT GUMBEL: Forgive me.  Because there’s no gentle way of asking this.  You saw your mom’s autopsy photos?

JON DORENBOS:  Uh-huh. I don’t think there’s anything in life that’ll ever be harder than that. I peeked at it.  And I just closed the folder and slid it away.

BRYANT GUMBEL: You peeked.  You didn’t stare?

JON DORENBOS: That’s all I needed.  And I went out to a cliff at Puget Sound.  And I remember just sittin’ on the cliff.  And I just screamed.


At his trial Alan Dorenbos testified that he killed his wife in self-defense … the jury didn’t buy it …


{SOT: “We find the defendant Alan Dorenbos guilty of murder in the second degree”}


He was sentenced to 13 years in prison … Meaning that at the age of 12, Jon had effectively lost both of his parents … desperate for answers he and his older sister Krissy confronted their father in the state penitentiary at Walla Walla.



Depressed by tragedy, young Jon’s life only began to change when a family friend, in an attempt to cheer Dorenbos up, introduced him to magic …


Dorenbos was hooked …

JON DORENBOS: I would record these magic specials on TV. And then, I could put the VCR in late at night, and I could watch the magic shows, and I could try and figure ‘em out. I would go in my room for hours and hours and hours.  I would literally have a little flashlight. And my sister and I shared a room.  And she would be– she’d fall asleep.  And I’d click this flashlight on. And then, all of a sudden, I’d look over at the clock and it’s 6:00 in the morning and I gotta go to school at, like, 7:40. And I’d be like, ‘Holy cow.’  Boom.

KRISSY DORENBOS (his sister): I swear there was a couple of times that he intentionally broke dishes when it was his turn to do the dishes so that he could be sent to his room so that he could practice his magic.  (laughs)

JON DORENBOS: It was this place that I could go that nothing else around me mattered. It gave me a purpose.  It gave me something that didn’t reject me. It gave me something that I could work at and I could see a progression and I could master.

State of Golf in the U.S. on the next Real Sports




REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 208th edition debuts TUESDAY, JULY 22 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO.

For up-to-the-minute updates about REAL SPORTS, follow on Twitter at @RealSportsHBO or join the conversation using #RealSports

Segments include:

*Overgrown Green. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the golf industry saw its popularity soar and business boom.  Thanks in part to superstar Tiger Woods, young and old alike were drawn to the sport like never before, as evidenced by strong TV ratings, raucous crowds, a retail explosion to sell new equipment, and most of all, a massive building boom that saw roughly 5,000 golf courses built over nearly two decades.

Most observers and industry executives agree that the bubble has officially burst. Over the last eight years, participation is down 20% nationwide and more courses have closed than opened in the U.S. annually. Industry leaders believe drastic measures are needed to ensure the future of the sport. Host Bryant Gumbel speaks with industry leaders, including Jack Nicklaus, the most decorated golfer of all time, and executive Mark King about the state of the sport and what innovations need to be embraced.

Producer: Nick Dolin.


Voiceover: Bridgewater is one of hundreds of courses nationwide that have gone belly up lately. On average, 130 American courses have closed every year for the last 8 years. And they’ve closed all over. From mid-western Michigan to the coast of California and from the tip of Florida to top of Minnesota.


Steve Ekovich, a realtor who specializes in golf course properties, says:  “There’s people that had this idea that build it and they will come. They didn’t come.”

Gumbel Voiceover: Call it the hangover after golf’s big party… after the boom years of the late 90s and early 2000s… when golf, thanks largely to Tiger Woods, was suddenly, for the first time in its ancient history actually hip and cool.

From 1986 to 2005, five thousand new golf courses were built in the United States.

GOLF LEGEND JACK NICKLAUS: “I was doing, you know, 20, 30 golf courses at a time.  And, yeah, it was a blast for us.  It was great fun. It was a great business.”

V/O: Jack Nicklaus is arguably golf’s greatest player of all time.

But as a golf course architect his income has dwarfed the money he made as a player…earning seven figure fees during those boom years every time he designed one of his signature courses.

JACK NICKLAUS: “It was kind of ridiculous. People were belonging to ten, 12, 15 clubs. Those days are gone.”

V/O: It all turned for the worse about 7 years ago. The US economy tanked and then Tiger Woods went into a tailspin. Almost overnite, few Americans still wanted the golf life… and even fewer could afford it. As a result, it has come to this. Somewhere in America these days, a golf course closes every 48 hours.

JACK NICKLAUS: “Back in China I’ve got between 15 and 20 under construction.  Then another ten or 15 under planning.  I’ve got three under construction in Russia, a little bit in Brazil, in India.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “But in the United States?”

JACK NICKLAUS: [makes a zero with his finger]

BRYANT GUMBEL: “The mindset of the American public has changed. You know, when you and I were younger, I mean, that was what we aspired to…”

NICKLAUS: “It’s changed….”

GUMBEL: “…living on a golf course and being able to play. I’m not necessarily sure young people view their, their senior years that way.”

JACK NICKLAUS: “They don’t, they have no interest in that.”

MARK KING: “Every macro-indicator that we’ve been looking at for the past 20 years, rounds played, number of minorities playing, women coming into the game, all of these things that we’ve tracked, says that there’s less people playing. And the ones that are playing are playing less frequently.”

V/O: Mark King would prefer not to believe any of this. Because for the last 15 years, he’s been president of TaylorMade, one of golf’s leading manufacturers of clubs and equipment.


But as one of the most powerful men in the game, he can no longer afford to ignore the obvious. That even as the economy recovers, golf remains in a nosedive.


MARK KING: “Young people entering the game after high school, 18 to 30-year-old kids down 35% in the last ten years.  So I just don’t like where the game looks like it’s going. And it’s not in the right direction.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Where’s it going?”

MARK KING: “I think it’s shrinking to the point where you are only going to have traditional people play and it’s going to be an elite game again.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “You and I both know that somewhere there are a lot of old white, fat cats who are going, ‘Fewer golfers?  Good.  Fewer minorities?  Good.  Fewer women?  Good.  Fewer kids?  Good?’ “

MARK KING:  “Yup, of course there are. But if you own a golf course, if you’re selling golf clubs, if you’re selling turf, if you’re employing people. It’s awful scary watching it go down.”

V/O: Just about every sector of the business is in trouble…retail is off by double digits for each of the last three years…and TV ratings for some of the game’s biggest tournaments have been in steady decline since 2012.

V/O: King dubbed his campaign, Hack Golf, and asked everyone to think outside the box. Way outside the box.


MARK KING: “One of the first ideas on Hack Golf was free beer.  Okay, now, now Bryant, that sounds ridiculous, okay…”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Yes, it does….”

MARK KING: “…But I’ll tell you what.  Let’s take a municipal golf course.  And let’s say you said, ‘Green fees are $50, but there’s free beer every Saturday,’ what do you think that golf course would look like?”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “It’d look like something I don’t want to play.”

MARK KING: “It would be packed.”

V/O: Free beer is one thing but King also has bigger ideas –much bigger ideas.

MARK KING: “There it is, the future of golf: 15-inch cup.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “God Almighty.”

MARK KING: “So think about it though.  Think about a kid playing golf for the first time, and he is putting and he putts to the little tiny hole and it take him four putts from four feet and here he hits his first one from eight feet.  It’s a different experience.  It’s a different experience.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Yeah but, the game is about dealing with the frustration.”

MARK KING: “It’s still frustrating.  Now, I wanted to make it 25 inches, but they said, ‘No, just make it 15.’ “

V/O: Three and half times the size of a regular hole, King claims the 15-inch holes make the game faster, shaving an hour off the average round of golf. The result, he says, is a more accessible game, for more people.

BRYANT GUMBEL: “I must say, it is more fun.” [laughs]

MARK KING: “That’s what it is. It’s fun.”

V/O: To test his theory that bigger holes lead to more fun, King’s company, TaylorMade, is having 15-inch cups installed at more than 100 courses around the country this summer. But if purists think pizza pie sized holes are somehow sacrilegious, imagine what those purists think of this:

BRYANT GUMBEL: Let me read you a quote from Curtis Strange.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  He says quote, ‘I don’t wanna rig the game and cheapen it.  I don’t like any of that stuff.  And it’s not gonna happen either.’  It’s all talk?”

MARK KING:  “That’s one man’s opinion.  And Curtis Strange was a factor in golf 20 years ago. But there’s a theme to who’s hanging onto the old and who’s moving to the new. So if we don’t do any of this we’re gonna end up with a bunch of Curtis Stranges playing golf by themselves on a Saturday morning enjoying the great history of the game.”

GUMBEL: “Is the game of golf too hard for this generation, an immediate gratification generation?”

JACK NICKLAUS: “Yeah, I think it probably is.  I don’t think there’s any question that the game is too hard.  The game needs, the game needs to be a game for the masses.  Everybody wants to play like Tiger Woods.  They can’t play like Tiger Woods. Tiger finds his ball every hole. (laugh) They don’t find the golf ball every hole. That is the problem.

BRYANT GUMBEL: So these somewhat crazy ideas that are being spawned by the problems of golf.  These have your blessing?  Big holes?”

JACK NICKLAUS: “What difference does it make if it brings people in and introduces them to the game?”

VO: And that’s all Mark King is trying to do with his grand experiment, which, he says, doesn’t have to succeed to be a success. He just wants to nudge a reluctant industry into a better future.


REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is available on multiple platforms, including HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.

Other HBO playdates: July 22 (3:10 a.m.), 24 (8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m.), 26 (midnight) and 30 (7:30 p.m., 1:30 a.m.), and Aug. 5 (4:15 p.m.) and 9 (10:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: July 25 (4:45 p.m.), 27 (1:25 p.m.) and 31 (8:00 a.m., 9:30 p.m.), and Aug. 2 (11:00 a.m.), 6 (2:05 a.m.), 12 (12:25 a.m.), 14 (11:00 a.m.) and 18 (1:55 p.m.)

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on July 22, log on to HBO.com/realsports for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.


Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns June 24







REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 207th edition debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: June 26 (8:00 a.m., 1:45 a.m.), 28 (midnight) and 30 (5:15 p.m.), and July 2 (noon), 4 (10:00 a.m.), 7 (10:30 p.m.), 9 (5:00 p.m.), 10 (2:55 a.m.), 13 (11:00 a.m.) and 18 (2:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: June 26 (8:00 p.m.) and 29 (1:00 a.m.), and July 5 (9:45 a.m.), 11 (5:30 p.m.), 15 (8:00 a.m.), 17 (11:15 p.m.), 20 (12:45 p.m.) and 21 (1:50 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: June 30-July 21

Segments include:

*Anatomy of a Fix. As the world focuses on soccer’s biggest stage, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS’ investigative team, led by host Bryant Gumbel, explores a global, match-fixing network that threatens the very legitimacy of the sport. At the center of the scandal are nearly 400 professional soccer games in Europe that are under suspicion of being fixed by players or referees who allegedly accepted money to influence the outcome of matches. Some of the matches occurred at high levels of the sport, such as Champions League contests in England and World Cup qualifying showdowns.

This elaborate, multi-continental network continues to stretch across oceans and soccer leagues. In preparing this report, REAL SPORTS traveled to: Italy, one of the cornerstones of the match-fixing scandal; the Far East, where many of the organized schemes are formed and funded; Berlin, to meet a convicted fixer who worked with an Asian syndicate to rig a World Cup qualifying match in 2009; and Lyon, France, where the lead investigator for Interpol attempts to track the worldwide fix.

Producers: Tim Walker, Josh Fine.

*Strawberry’s Redemption. There might not be a more notable fall from grace in baseball than Darryl Strawberry’s decline from stardom to drug addiction and financial ruin. Now 52, he’s still one of the most beloved New York baseball players ever, but when his best days on the diamond were behind him, his life took a turn for the worse. The four-time World Series champion battled drug addiction, served time in jail due to multiple arrests, lost all his career earnings and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Between doctors’ dire predictions and his deep depression, he was all but given up for dead.

To the surprise of many, Strawberry has made a remarkable turnaround. Out of the spotlight, he’s been sober for nearly a decade and his cancer is in remission. Leaving his baseball days in the past, the eight-time All Star is a happily married, ordained minister and the founder of a recovery center for sufferers of substance abuse. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels to Strawberry’s new home in St. Louis to discuss everything from the dark times to his extraordinary transformation.

Producer: Jason Samuels.

            *Hidden on the Sidelines. NFL cheerleaders are regarded by some as among the most glamorous women in sports. But outside the limelight are numerous allegations of financial exploitation and mistreatment. Five NFL teams – the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders – are all currently defendants in employment-law related lawsuits. REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer speaks with a host of ex-cheerleaders, including former Oakland Raiderette Lacy T., whose lawsuit against her employer spawned four additional suits against four other teams, and former Buffalo Jills, who accuse that team of subjecting them to humiliating body examinations and personal hygiene rules.

Producer: Maggie Burbank.

*American Beauty. Host Bryant Gumbel revisits the interesting and often bizarre world of women’s bodybuilding. Although it’s virtually ignored by mainstream media, and offers significantly smaller financial incentives than those available to male counterparts, thousands of participants make a living from the sport, with many pushing boundaries to achieve the perfect physique. In an environment of obsessive workouts, round-the-clock fitness routines and even plastic surgery, performance enhancers often play a crucial and dangerous role in the physical development these women seek. For some in search of extra income, there’s also “muscle worship,” in which female bodybuilders allow male fans to massage and fetishize their bodies.

Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Tim Walker.

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons debuts August 5






HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Atlanta Falcons team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE ATLANTA FALCONS debuts in August. The first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV – kicks off its five-episode ninth season, presented in HD, TUESDAY, AUG. 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other hour-long episodes debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, with an encore play Wednesday at 11:00 p.m., culminating in the Sept. 2 season finale.

“We are thrilled that the ninth edition of the HARD KNOCKS series will spotlight the Atlanta Falcons,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “It’s exciting to feature a team, a franchise and a city for the first time on HARD KNOCKS.  We are grateful to Coach Mike Smith and the entire organization for agreeing to participate and look forward to what we expect to be one of the most exciting seasons in HARD KNOCKS history. The series has become one of the few summertime programs that is truly appointment TV and we can’t wait for the premiere on August 5th.”

“We’re excited to work with the Atlanta Falcons and HBO Sports on HARD KNOCKS,” says Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting. “We want to thank Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and the entire Falcons’ organization for the trust they have in NFL FILMS by allowing us unprecedented access into their training camp.  The Falcons present numerous storylines with a veteran coaching staff, star players and newcomers all coming together to attempt to rise up back to the top of the NFC.”

The cinema verité series will focus on the daily lives and routines of playersand coachesas the Atlanta Falcons, who play in the talent-rich NFC South, conduct the franchise’s 49th training camp and prepare for the 2014 NFL season. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE ATLANTA FALCONS will chronicle seventh-year head coach Mike Smith and an intriguing mix of high-profile veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the four-game preseason schedule. Each week,players will experience drills, instruction, meetings and fun, while striving to prove they have what it takes to make the team and leave their mark on the NFL.  The Falcons have earned a postseason playoff berth in four of the six years that Smith has been at the helm.

“We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond,” said Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur M. Blank. “This marks the first time that our franchise will be featured on HARD KNOCKS and we look forward to showcasing our great players and coaches to football fans all across America.”

A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at the Falcons’ training camp at team headquarters in Flowery Branch, GA, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

“We are looking forward to connecting with our fans across the country as the program chronicles our 2014 training camp,” said Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. “The series will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the competition between players as we build our roster and prepare for the season. We are looking forward to the start of camp in late July.”

Two summers ago HARD KNOCKS moved its premiere night to Tuesday and the results have been a resounding success. The five-part series on the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals last August averaged 3.6 million viewers per episode.  No other sports reality series can match the critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by the HARD KNOCKS franchise.

HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. The series resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Sports Emmy®. In 2008, the series returned to the Dallas Cowboys, receiving a second Sports Emmy® for production excellence. In 2009, HARD KNOCKS spotlighted the Cincinnati Bengals and captured two more Sports Emmy® Awards, for Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology and Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound. In 2010, the New York Jets were featured and the series captured three Sports Emmys®, including Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology. The summer of 2012 spotlighted the Miami Dolphins, earning the franchise an eighth Sports Emmy®, in the category of Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.  The Bengals were featured again in 2013 and the series captured three more Sports Emmys®, bringing to 11 the number of trophies awarded to the franchise for production excellence.  Last summer’s spotlight on the Bengals was recognized with the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Editing, Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics and Outstanding Post Produced Audio/Sound.

Each of the last four teams featured on HARD KNOCKS has improved its won-loss record in the regular season that immediately follows the training camp presentation.

TimeMagazine called the show “riveting,” while NFL.com hailed the series as “undoubtedly the greatest football program in the history of the television medium.” Business Week observed, “As a workplace drama, it ranks among the best on television,” and New York’s Daily News termed it “the gold standard of sports reality programming.” ESPNW wrote: “The return of the NFL season also means the return of one of the best shows on television, ‘Hard Knocks.’  This rare look at how any given moment can be the end of a season or even a career.”  Grantland.com observed, “Hard Knocks is when it really feels like we’re getting football back in our lives.”

24/7 Cotto/Martinez debuts this Saturday





HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 18 Sports Emmy® Awards, returns for its 20th boxing installment with 24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ, debuting SATURDAY, MAY 31 (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT). The behind-the-scenes series follows two elite fighters as they prepare for their blockbuster pay-per-view middleweight title showdown June 7 at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden.

Show # 1

Debut: SATURDAY, MAY 31 (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: June 1 (11:30 a.m.) 2 (8:00 p.m.), 3 (5:30 p.m., midnight), 4 (10:30 a.m., 3:15 a.m.), 6 (7:00 p.m.) and 7 (11:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: May 31 (2:45 a.m.) and June 1 (12:05 a.m.), 3 (9:00 p.m.), 6 (12:45 a.m.) and 7 (5:00 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® and HBO GO® availability begins: June 3

Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) works with renowned hall of fame trainer Freddy Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Cal., while Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) and trainer Pablo Sarmiento prepare for the highly anticipated matchup in Miami, Fla.

Episode two of 24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ debuts Thursday, June 5 (8:30-9:00 p.m.), two nights before the high-stakes bout.

24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ is also available on HBO Latino.

“Cotto vs. Martinez” takes place at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden on Saturday, June 7 at 9:00 p.m. (ET)/6:00 p.m. (PT), and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.

The executive producer of 24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ is Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Bentley Weiner; producer, Abtin Motia; writer, Aaron Cohen. Liev Schreiber narrates.

Froch vs. Groves II Live Saturday afternoon on HBO





American boxing fans can catch a highly anticipated UK rematch and a title fight from Macau when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK®: CARL FROCH VS. GEORGE GROVES II AND SIMPIWE VETYEKA VS. NONITO DONAIRE is seen SATURDAY, MAY 31 at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The HBO Sports team will be calling both events, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Other HBO playdates: June 1 (8:30 a.m.) and 3 (1:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: June 1 (3:15 p.m.) and 2 (11:00 p.m.)

Just six months after their first encounter, two of the UK’s favorite sons, Carl Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, and George Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) of Hammersmith, London, England, clash in a 12-round title rematch before more than 80,000 fansat iconic Wembley Stadium. Groves dominated the first eight rounds of their Nov. 2013 bout, and appeared well on his way to a unanimous decision, but Froch launched a tireless barrage of shots midway through the ninth in a dramatic turn of events. While the hurt yet gritty Groves remained on his feet, Froch’s attack compelled the referee to end the fight in controversial fashion. This highly charged 168-pound bout will air live on HBO at 4:45 p.m. (ET).

The action begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT) with full same-day coverage of the scheduled 12-round featherweight title fight between challenger Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs) and titleholder Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KOs) from Cotai Arena atThe Venetian® Macao inMacau, China. In his season debut, Donaire, who has won titles in four divisions and was the sport’s 2012 Fighter of the Year, seeks a new crown. Insightful, thoughtful and engaging, Donaire, a native of the Philippines, now living in Las Vegas, started a new winning streak last fall on HBO with a ninth-round KO victory over Vic Darchinyan in their rematch. Vetyeka, of Mdantsane, South Africa, will be making the first defense of his 126-pound title.

Later that evening (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT), HBO presents the first episode of “24/7 Cotto/Martinez,” the latest installment of the Emmy ®-winning series. The show profiles superstars Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez as they prepare for their June 7 blockbuster encounter on HBO Pay-Per-View®.

At midnight (ET/PT), HBO Latino presents a special edition of “HBO Latino Boxing” from the Tropicana Casino Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Javier Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic takes on Mexico’s Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) in a super featherweight event scheduled for ten rounds, while Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) and Luis Orlando Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs), both of Puerto Rico, open the show with a scheduled ten-round super bantamweight fight. Subscribers can also catch the action with English-language commentary on HBO2 at midnight (ET/PT).

HBO2 and HBO Latino will replay FROCH VS. GROVES II after the action from Las Vegas concludes.

All HBO boxing events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.

Follow HBO boxing news at hbo.com/boxing, on Facebook at facebook.com/hboboxing and on Twitter at twitter.com/hboboxing.

The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producer Thomas Odelfelt; director, Johnathan Evans.

®HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: New show May 20






REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 206th edition debuts TUESDAY, MAY 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: May 20 (3:45 a.m.), 23 (12:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m.), 24 (9:45 a.m., 1:45 a.m.), 27 (8:15 a.m., 6:00 p.m.) and 29 (3:45 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), and June 1 (7:30 a.m.) and 5 (1:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: May 22 (11:15 p.m.), 25 (11:45 a.m., 2:00 a.m.) and 28 (9:30 p.m.), and June 4 (7:00 p.m.), 12 (11:05 a.m.), 16 (1:40 p.m.) and 21 (5:10 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: May 21-June 16

Segments include:

*White Elephants. Brazil, which some call the spiritual home of soccer, hosts the 2014 World Cup next month. While millions of fans await the sport’s premier spectacle, hundreds of thousands in Brazil have been protesting excessive spending on the construction of soccer stadiums, some of which they regard as “white elephants,” i.e., mega-event complexes built with the promise of future success and riches, but with limited practical use for the future. The protestors are furious at the vast sums of money spent by the government on world-class stadiums while many in the country suffer from inadequate health care, education and infrastructure. Brazil has constructed 12 stadiums in as many cities at a total cost of $4 billion, and four of those are projected to be white elephants.

South Africa, the previous host of the World Cup, is home to nine white elephants, and Greece, host of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, also has many unused stadiums that are a constant reminder of financial incompetence in the wake of the country’s bankruptcy. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel traveled to Athens, Greece and Manaus and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to see where this troubling trend began and further examine the issue.

Producer: Jordan Kronick.

*The Buffer Brothers. Michael and Bruce Buffer are two of the most recognizable personalities in combat sports. Michael has bellowed his legendary catchphrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!” at nearly all of the most notable boxing matches of the last 30 years, while brother Bruce is the “Veteran Voice of the Octagon” as the announcer for the UFC. Michael was born to a young couple during World War II and entered foster care in Philadelphia at 11 months old. Never formally adopted, he grew up with the surname Huber, but reassumed his legal last name, Buffer, when he joined the Army at age 20.

When Michael became a fixture on the fight scene, Bruce noticed his own striking resemblance to the well-dressed ring announcer, not to mention sharing the same last name. Working up the courage to ask his father if they were related, Bruce was stunned to learn they were indeed brothers. REAL SPORTS correspondent Soledad O’Brien sits down with the enterprising duo to learn more about this unexpected and inspiring story, and how it led to the birth of the Buffer Partnership.

Producer: Maggie Burbank.

            *Fields of Hate. With the world’s attention focused on the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS revisits its Emmy®-winning 2005 expose of racism in elite professional soccer. In the original report, Bryant Gumbel traveled throughout Europe to talk with players such as French national and English Premier League superstar Thierry Henry, revealing blatant fan racism. Today, incidents of racism in European soccer remain all too frequent, and efforts by governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA to eliminate them have had limited success. Gumbel reexamines this hot-button issue with Henry, now a member of the New York Red Bulls, and American star Jozy Altidore, and seeks to find out what is being done to solve this disturbing problem.

Producers: Chapman Downes, Tim Walker, Beret Remak.

REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a 2012 George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. In addition, it is the only sports program ever honored with two duPont Awards, first in 2005 and again in 2012.

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 26 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. On May 6, Real Sports captured the Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports News Anthology for 2013.

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports. Join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports or visiting @RealSportsHBO. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on May 20, viewers can log on to hbo.com/realsports for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.